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Time Out Says

Your castle, your sanctuary, your home-sweet-home

This venue is precisely what it claims to be: your place. From March 16, 2020, Sydney started incrementally closing its theatres, galleries, live music venues, pubs, restaurants and other venues to help slow the spread of Covid-19. 

However, a number of enterprising businesses and organisations have embraced the online realm, creating events that you can engage with from the comfort of (you guessed it) your place. If you see a Time Out event that's located at your place, it means you can take part in it at home via the internet.



What's On

Bad Altitude

As we all moved online in 2020, the concept of escape rooms did too. You no longer have to be locked in a physical space to complete a series of puzzles and save the day. All you need is a computer or tablet and an internet connection.  Online escape rooms take many forms, from fully interactive (an actor is on the Zoom call with you and will look at and report on clues in their physical room) to a hybrid (an escape room employee straps a GoPro to their head and takes direction from you) to a fully digital setup, which can be either an interactive digital space, sort of like the 360-degree tours you find on real estate websites, or a videogame-type setup.  Bad Altitude is more in the last category, and it probably properly belongs more in the category of story-based online videogame than actual escape room. But let's not quibble. The setup is this: You are with some number of friends, either clustered together around one computer screen, using different screens in the same room or in different locations and linked via Google Hangouts, Zoom or any other video chat you want. If you're in the same physical space, we suggest clustering around the largest screen you have and nominating one member of your team drive the action. Your mission is to solve problems aboard a plane, from overly sensitive passengers to lost luggage to, as you might expect, landing the whole damn thing.  There is no human on the other end in real time, but several different cartoon characters help or hinde

Caldera 360º

  • Digital and interactive

The inaugural run of the critically acclaimed Caldera Festival was dubbed “Sydney’s answer to Dark Mofo”, way back in 2018. Plans for a biannual return were scuppered last year, for obvious reasons. But that enforced benching got artistic director Laurence Rosier Staines thinking about how to deliver an online version that would stay true to the spirit of the live experience. Caldera 360º is the result, and it’s arrived just in time for our current snap lockdown. The immersive platform hosts five 360º digital artworks and performances, all scattered across a surreal landscape. From the outset, it asks you, the visitor, the question, “Caldera 360º is a website… or is it a game?” The digital playground, designed by Martin Baker and featuring a soundscape by Sydney composer Clemence Williams, actively encourages the audience to explore the environment. The space is just as intriguing as the first round of discoverable works, all commissioned by Rosier Staines. “360-degree viewing is fascinating, because we have the wherewithal now for it to be widespread and accessible, but almost no one has been thinking about or making art experiences to take advantage of the immersive nature of the experience,” he says. Each of the works was created by an artist affected by last year’s shutdowns. Internationally acclaimed artist Meng-Yu Yan’s work ‘Black Butterfly’ is inspired by Chinese shadow puppetry, mythology and memory. You can also check out a ghostly music video by Marcus Whale, Athen


  • Digital and interactive

Embracing these hybrid times when we’re often online more than we’re out and about, the Art Gallery of New South Wales has launched the mother of all digital galleries, and it’s a kaleidoscopic trip to creative wonderland. Part of their ongoing Together in Art series, Hyper-linked assembles seven exciting contemporary Australian artists pushing the envelope on how we engage with art from wherever we are in the world. Heath Franco’s 'Home Videohome' is a trippy, dystopian stare into the abyss of the interwebs through the search portals of doom. You'll very likely recognise one in particular, but to avoid any nasty lawsuit, it's been rebranded as Newspider. Get caught up in this web full of unnerving animalistic figures and ‘90s-style pop video imagery gone awry. It’s wrong-town in all the right ways. Justene Williams’ explosively colourful video 'The Unboxers' opens with shades of apocalyptic wrestling matches and a montage with a glimpse of a superhero-like character who resembles someone who rhymes with Maptain Carvel (prob don’t want Disney legalling this either). With creatures that look like sun-melted lollies and a bizarre egg experiment, it’s loopy goodness inspired by the unfurling of the legendary Bob Fosse's jazz hands. JD Reforma’s dreamy drone imagery in ‘I Want to Believe’ captures stolen glances of the world as seen from Sydney’s rooftops, with the traffic drifting by oblivious below. Exploring the idea of escape from abusive relationships, what at first seems li

Ideas at the House

  • Talks and discussions

Looking for some brain fodder to keep your mind off lockdown? The Opera House has just dropped more digital content to get the cogs turning. The cultural institution’s long-running podcast Ideas at the House gets a beautifully filmed treatment with a series of original, one-on-one interviews with some of the most inspiring women of the moment back in March as part of the All About Women Festival. (FYI, you can read five things we learned at All About Women 2021 here.) The series is hosted by the Opera House’s former head of talks and ideas and Time Out Sydney Future Shapers judge Edwina Throsby. Throsby gets up close and personal with actress, artist and Gen-X icon Ione Skye; best-selling author, podcaster, businesswoman and hyper fashion and decor influencer Lillian Ahenkan, aka Flex Mami; Sydney-based writer, sex worker and author of newly released contemporary fiction novel Nothing But My Body, Tilly Lawless (whom we also interviewed about why the world’s oldest profession is due a modern image makeover); and popular Australian media personality, author and host of the ABC podcast Ladies, We Need to Talk Yumi Stynes. Each interview gives a glimpse into a singular figure and the work it takes to succeed on their own terms. You can watch the interviews by signing up for a free subscription to Stream, the Sydney Opera House’s world-class online streaming platform. You’ll find all the talks mentioned above here. Stream also allows you to rent stunning Australian Chamber Orches

In the Mood: A Love Letter to Wong Kar-Wai and Hong Kong

  • Romance

For many ardent cinephiles, Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s lushly lit romance In the Mood for Love (2000) is their favourite film of all time. It certainly wowed critics at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for, but did not win, the top prize, the Palme d’Or (which went to Lars von Trier’s also excellent Dancer in the Dark). Star Tony Leung did take home Best Actor for his remarkable turn as a cuckolded man who slowly but surely falls for a neighbour, played by a radiant Maggie Cheung, whose spouse is also doing the dirty. Her dresses alone have been seared into cinematic history, as gorgeous as the sumptuous cinematography they’re folded into, as captured by Aussie Christopher Doyle alongside Kwan Pung-leung and Mark Lee Ping-bing. To celebrate 20 years of the film sashaying into the sublime, the Opera House staged a livestream event In the Mood: A Love Letter to Wong Kar-Wai and Hong Kong, a night of entertainment inspired by Kar-wai’s vision. You can watch it here.  Performing on the Joan Sutherland stage, Hong Kong-born, Australia-based pop star Rainbow Chan debuted new music inspired by the movie’s unforgettable score. She also threw some Bossa Nova moves from a famous sequence. Chan was joined by Sydney-based composer, singer and performance artist Marcus Whale – who has popped up at Liveworks, Vivid and Sugar Mountain Festival – and regular collaborator Eugene Choi, who narrated this lavish audio-visual feast, guiding us through a fever dream brought


Whether you have kids in your care or not, there’s a distinct chance you’ve heard the current Mad Max – aka the spunky Tom Hardy – reading sweet bedtime stories to little ones. It’s a phenomenon also adopted by the likes of Harry Styles and Matthew McConaghy. With everything going on right now, it’s as good a time as any to (re)acquaint yourself with this unusually soothing trend. Or you can opt for the local instead. Max Price – one half of comedy show Kinne Tonight – has recorded his own spin, and it should help struggle town Sydneysiders get a good night’s kip right now. Laughscape is a mindful meditation app with a difference, tasking 50 of Australia’s fave funny folks with reading de-stressing bedtime stories. Price is joined by his buddy Troy Kinne, as well as the likes of Michelle Brasier, Lehmo, Lizzy Hoo, Dave Thornton, Natalie Tran, Brodi Snook and Ash Williams. He and his partner Lia Jackson came up with the idea during Melbourne's rolling lockdowns, which shuttered the filming on a new series of Kinne Tonight. “The idea sparked one night when we joked about a comedy version of a sleep story, and from there it gained enough traction and before we knew it we were having zoom calls with Melbourne-based app developers Launchpad,” Price says. Each story is about 20-30 minutes long, and calm but just funny enough to take your mind off the drudgery of your day. You can listen to Price for free, with new sessions added weekly. If you chuckle at what you’re hearing, you ca

Nooks and Crannies

Sydneysiders have seen the contours of the Opera House sails a thousand times. They're a truly iconic strand of the city's DNA, but as familiar as the building's exterior is, plenty of spaces within the architectural marvel remain hidden. Like winning a golden ticket, Nooks and Crannies unlocks these secret spaces. In a series of intimate gigs, musicians are placed in lesser-known spots within the Opera House and respond accordingly, with their music. Featuring indie music big hitters of the calibre of Courtney Barnett, Camp Cope and The National, you can binge all this gold on the Opera House's Stream platform. Think of it like a special edition of Rage with site-specific music videos filmed in hidden corners of a famous Sydney landmark.  The first volume features Swedish guitar whisperer José González and Melbourne future-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote. Round two features hypnotic soul-folk artist Moses Sumney in the orchestra pit of the Joan Sutherland Theatre, playing his enchanting hit ‘Don't Bother Calling’. Next singer-songwriter and producer Kelsey Lu plays a stripped back, minimal version of her pulsating, Jamie xx co-produced track ‘Foreign Car’ under the laser lights of the Studio in the belly of the Opera House. US cult rockers The National play 'Hard To Find' from their Grammy Award winning album, Sleep Well Beast, under the Opera House sails in the Utzon Room. Melbourne trio Camp Cope bring forth their scathing critique of indie rock’s virtue signalling issues with

We Need To Talk About Fire

You would think that all round legendary bloke and Quandamooka man Wesley Enoch would have his hands full crossing the Ts and dotting the Is of January’s fast-approaching all-Australian Sydney Festival. But somehow he’s also found time to help spread the word  about a brilliant series of short online films examining the aftermath of last summer’s terrifying bushfires, dubbed We Need To Talk About Fire. Marking the directorial debut of Bridget Ikin – the super-producer behind such notable Australian films as Sherpa and Jirga – the films explore the ongoing impact the fires have had on individuals, community and land. Filming largely at Bundanon in Illaroo, Ikin has captured a range of voices who share Indigenous knowledge systems, stories of community action, healing initiatives and creative responses to changing the way we live with bushfires. The We Need To Talk About Fire series couldn’t be any timelier as Sydney swelters, and with the knowledge that the last fire season burned a 17 million-hectare swathe through the country, claiming 31 lives on top of an estimated 3 billion animals and insects. Bundanon CEO Deborah Ely says, “In the middle of the stressful and unpredictable crisis presented by the 2019/20 summer fires, we realised that this experience was shared by our entire community. We understood that the impact would be long and hard, and that Bundanon was uniquely placed to bring people together, to assist in the recovery and to build resilience.” It’s all about hop

Sydney Living Museums online talk series

  • Talks and discussions

We might not be able to stroll into the Museum of Sydney, Hyde Park Barracks or Vaucluse House right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be inspired by the stories of our city, past, present and yet to be written. The curatorial team at Sydney Living Museums has created a scintillating and totally free online talk series to keep us all connected, with new chats dropping every Tuesday (with some bonus Thursday sessions too). Upcoming insights include The Mythology of the Grand Tour, with curator David White exploring the interconnectedness of their house museums, how folks view them and their many acquisitions on Tuesday, August 31 at noon. Carlin de Montfort will present Searching the records for Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on Thursday, September 2 at 4pm, exploring the pioneering aviator's disappearance alongside those of Amelia Earhart and Charles Ulm. If you’re a keen home chef, why not tune in for Cooking with Rose Seidler on Tuesday, September 7 at noon with Dr Jacqui Newling? The Austrian immigrant to Sydney was a renowned entertainer and left heaps of handwritten recipes. From one period of crisis to another, you can take a look at how public service messages were communicated through art with Bringing blackouts to light: poster design in World War II, as presented by Michael Lech on Thursday, September 9 at 4pm. Anna Cossu will lead Residents, not tenants, illuminating the lives of the boarders of Sydney’s four working-class houses on Tuesday, September 14 at noon. An

Woolworths Carols in the Domain

  • Fairs and festivals

Woolworths Carols in the Domain is celebrating its 39th anniversary this year. Families and friends can expect a much-needed evening of Christmas spirit, and of course, a very special visit from the ol’ mate in red, Santa Claus. The annual festive event is the bearer of jolly spirit for many Sydneysiders, drawing a whopping audience of all ages every year. Sadly, in 2020 the event had to move to the ICC due to Covid restrictions, and no live audience was able to attend. Fear not, though. We're in for a much more 'normal' Carols this year.  Get your Santa hats, reindeer ears, picnic rugs, and Christmas cheer ready, because the carols are back home at the Domain on Saturday December 18, to then be broadcast on Channel 7 and 7plus on Thursday December 23 at 7.30pm AEST.  Although the main concert for the iconic Yuletide tradition doesn’t kick off until 7.45pm, gates will open at 2pm, with food trucks and a Carols pre-show. You can register your interest for tickets now via Ticketbooth. This year’s event will be co-hosted by Channel 7 Sunrise hosts, Natalie Barr and David Koch (Kochie) and the pair will welcome ARIA award-winning Australian singer, Samantha Jade to the Domain stage, who is sure to have you wiggling your tush. Also performing will be local talent Penny McNamee with a celebratory festive tune, and Mark Vincent with the Christmas classics we know and love. More performers are set to be announced soon.

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